Dwight Howard Decision: The Lakers Thankfully Saved from Themselves

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak's statement on Dwight Howard's decision reads as an episode in disappointment, but has a distinct air of relief to it—and rightfully so.

It's about moving on. It's about finding a "different direction." It's about building "the best team possible."

And it's about liberating themselves from the Dwight Howard apathy that plagued the ballclub last season and was sure to plague them for five more years if the Lakers unwillingly got their way.

Obligatory PR statement aside, the Lakers—much like Howard—should be devoid of any truly strong emotional reactions over the Howard decision because, as Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times points out, their hearts were never really in it.

How can it feel like anger when the Lakers never put forth a genuine effort?

How can it feel like betrayal when Howard was never trusted in the first place?

How can it feel like frustration when Howard's departure does more good for the team than ill?

Sure, re-signing Howard and then shuffling the deck chairs around the 6'11'' superstar was the easy road for the next half decade.

The Lakers would have their superstar to build around, Kobe could hand over the keys to the castle and move onto greener pastures, Staples Center seats would continue to be filled and all would be right in Tinseltown.

But could a Howard-led team actually compete for rings?

In an NBA game becoming more and more about the open floor and perimeter play, a team built around a player with unrefined post moves would surely struggle against the run-and-gun, shoot-'em-up, knock-'em-down likes of the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Not to mention the fact that the Lakers would have to count on Howard as a leader—the same player that chose to get ejected in the team's final playoff game and leave his team to wallow on th...

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